Sharing the iconic Jack Greer with the world

Bill Dennison ·
25 September 2010
Environmental Literacy | 

Jack symbol

Chesapeake Bay and Maryland Sea Grant has had the good fortune to have Jack Greer writing, facilitating and building consensus for the past 31 years. Jack has elegantly written numerous intelligent, thoughtful and insightful articles on Chesapeake Bay issues, with personal knowledge gathered by frequently poking around the Bay on his sailboat. He is widely respected as a scholarly, approachable and kind man. On September 23, Dr. Jon Kramer, Maryland Sea Grant Director and his staff hosted a delightful event at the Maritime Museum in Eastport, across Spa Creek from Annapolis. Jack and his wife are about to set sail for Europe, and everyone wished them well on their sea voyage. A gathering of Jack's colleagues and family celebrated his stellar career and many nice things were said about Jack using words such as honest, articulate, friendly, good listener, fun, quiet, and respectful. The word that I chose to use with regard to Jack was 'icon', and this blog entry is to explain the choice of this word.

Jack Greer
Jack Greer at his retirement party.

The Integration and Application Network has been populating a library of symbols or icons used to create conceptual diagrams for the past decade. For the past five years, these symbol libraries have been available on the IAN website for free downloading. To date, over 57,000 people from 238 countries around the world have downloaded the 2,500 symbols now available. These symbols have been largely aspects of the natural world, including plants, animals and ecological processes. More recently, aspects of the human world, including structures and anthropogenic impacts have been added to the symbol libraries. The missing category of symbols has been people, but with the help of Science Communicator Kris Beckert, a suite of different people icons have been created representing different sectors of society, e.g., politician, hiker, resource manager, scientist, teacher, etc.

We thought it fitting that the first human icon that we start populating this new class of symbols on the globally utilized IAN symbol library would be that of a writer. Kris used Jack Greer as the model for this icon in the symbol library, because Jack is an iconic writer and a great example to provide to the world—this is what a writer should look like and Jack embodies how a writer should behave. The icon of Jack has him reading a book (using his ubiquitous reading glasses) and the book he is reading is 'Abraham's Bay', his most recent book of fiction about sailing voyages. This icon of a writer of an iconic writer can be found on the IAN image library. We joked that the symbol can be edited (as can all IAN symbols) so instead of holding a book, the icon of Jack could be at the tiller of a sailboat.

As Jack sets sail for Europe, we realize that we in Maryland and Chesapeake Bay now need to share Jack with the rest of the world. The icon of Jack in the image library also allows us to share this gentle soul with the world.

Retirement Cake
Cake for Jack's retirement.

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

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